BIRMINGHAM, Ala. --- The Chattanooga Mocs (6-9/1-1) earned a hard-fought Southern Conference 74-70 road win at Samford (3-12/1-1) Saturday night. The trio of Gee McGhee (Baton Rouge, La.), Z. Mason (Nashville, Tenn.) and Farad Cobb (West Palm Beach, Fla.) combined for 50 points to pace the Chattanooga triumph.
McGhee and Mason had 17 apiece, while Cobb added 16. Raijon Kelly led Samford with a game-high 27 points.
UTC led by eight, 69-61, on a McGhee layup with 4:48 left. From there, it withstood a strong Samford surge. Kelly scored five straight to close the lead to three, 69-66, with 3:43 left.
Cobb made the second of two free throws to make it a two possession game again, 70-66, at 3:17. Tim Williams and Kelly sandwiched a Mason score to cut it a two-point contest twice, the latter making in 72-70 Chattanooga's way.
Ronrico White's (Knoxville, Tenn.) three-pointer with 59 seconds remaining was off the mark, but McGhee was on the spot with the offensive board and another 35 seconds of clock. His runner in the lane just rolled out and the rebound went out of bounds to Samford with less than 25 seconds to go.
UTC got its stop as Clide Geffrard, Jr.'s three rimmed out. Cobb stepped out of bounds grabbing the rebound to give the Bulldogs the ball with 7.3 to play. Kelly's three-pointer was off and the long rebound came out to White streaking into the frontcourt. His two free throws with 0.5 left provided the 74-70 final margin.
White had a season-high six assists for the Mocs. Martynas Bareika (Kedainiai, Lithuania) had a great night off the bench with nine points to go with career highs of eight rebounds and four assists. Williams chipped in 18 points and six rebounds for Samford.
Chattanooga dominated the boards with a 30-17 advantage. It allowed Samford a mere two offensive rebounds.
UTC shot a season-best 57.8 percent from the field making 26 of 45 shots. That included nine of 17 from three-point range, 52.9 percent, which is also a season-high shooting percentage. The touch trifecta hit tonight as yet another season mark was set at 72.2 percent (13-18) from the free throw line.
It was needed as Samford had its stroke as well. The home team hit 50 percent (24-48) from the floor and 42.9 percent (9-21) from beyond the arc.
It was a white hot start for the visitors from the Scenic City. The Mocs hit their first seven offerings and 11 of the initial 12 shots. That led to a 16-point cushion, 22-6, in the first five-plus minutes of the contest. Down 26-11, Kelly shot his team back in it. He went on an 11-0 run to close the lead to four, 26-22.
The two teams dueled through the remainder of the half. The Bulldogs got as close as one at halftime, 39-38. Samford got an early lead in the second half on a Will Cook jumper, 42-40, at 18:10, but it was short-lived. It managed to lead the game for just over a minute total as UTC either led or the score was tied for 38:46.
The Mocs remain on the road for a trip to the low country. UTC travels to Charleston, S.C., to tackle The Citadel and College of Charleston starting Thursday with the Bulldogs.
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